Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Darlinghurst Blog: Plant Life: Bourke Street Cactus

Back in December last year when the City of Sydney council was building its Bourke Street Cycleway, there was a story in the Wentworth Courier about this large cactus, which was planted in a garden bed next to the footpath. 
The Wentworth Courier spoke to an appropriately named resident, Clare Verngreen, who with her green thumb had kept the cactus alive for over a decade. 
But because of the new cycleway garden beds, the City of Sydney council's landscapers had decided the cactus had to go because it posed a risk to passersby. 
At the time, my friend Ruby Molteno took a photograph of the plant and a copy of the Wenty article that had been taped up nearby:

"A large cactus in a Bourke Street garden bed is facing the chop because it does not fit into council planting plans,'' the Wentworth Courier reported. 
"Clare Verngreen, who has been tending the garden outside her Bourke Street home for more than 10 years said she was notified by a project manager on the Sydney Council bicycle path project that her cactus had to go.''
A council spokesperson told the local magazine that the cactus ''posed a safety hazard to people passing by" and had to be removed because the cactus is ''of a large size and protrudes outside the garden bed and unfortunately, replanting is not an option due to the size and the dangerous 20-30mm needles.''

Well, it seems that the council and Gardener Verngreen reached a solution to the problem, because when I was passing by on sunny Sunday, I couldn't help but notice the blooming marvellous cactus, which was weighted down with bright yellow flowers:

The cactus is thriving and is even surrounded by other flowering succulents so that it has actually become a little desert-style garden.

The flowers also look so healthy, as if they are really happy to have been able to remain at their home of 10 years. 
The council has since developed a draft Greening Sydney plan that means we will see more street-side plants being encouraged and also planted, which I think is the most marvellous thing.

If you want to pay a visit to the cactus while it's in bloom, the plant is located just outside 221 Bourke Street. 

1 comment:

Arnold. said...

"...cactus is our friend,
he'll point out the way..."

From "Midnight at the oasis"
Maria Muldaur.